Box Office: ‘No Time To Die’ Nabs Adequate $23M Friday

MGM Trailer - "No Time to Die"
No Time to Die had a better opening day than both the Bourne sequels and the Mission: Impossible films.

No Time to Die opened its domestic box office campaign yesterday with a strong $23.3 million Friday. This includes $6.3 million in previews and is a bigger opening day than Mission: Impossible: Fallout ($22.8million for a $61.2million debut in July 2018), and Jason Bourne (22.26 million for a $59million opening weekend in July 2016). It is below the $27.4million opening day for Spectre (including $5.25million in previews). The November 2015 release was a success, opening with $70 million in its debut weekend. These three pulled weekend multipliers of between 2.55x to 2.69x. Similar performances would have given No Time to Die an opening weekend of $59 million to $63 million.

It is possible that the weekend gross was lower than expected, possibly because the film is being shown to more mature and Covid-cautious viewers than the Venom sequel. It is still up there with Jason Bourne, Ethan Hunt, and Harry Hart, even if it does not catch fire today. It's the lowest opening day for an 007 movie since Casino Royale in 2006 ($14 million towards a $40 million debut, $168 million domestic finish), and it is also the lowest. It is lower than Quantum of Solace's opening day ($27 million/$68million/$168million in 2008), Skyfall's ($33 million/$90million/$304million in 2012), and Spectre's ($27.4m/$70million/$200million in 2015).

It's about how much the film would have opened to in April 2020, taking into account reviews, buzz, and runtime. However it is based on a Covid curve. There were high hopes that the 25th James Bond movie could surpass what happened with Venom: The Last Man Alive ($90 million) compared to its $80 million predecessor. The James Bond series has never been the season's box office champ. Skyfall was a rare exception. Its $304 million domestic cume and $1.108 billion worldwide total was still well within striking distance of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn part II ($295 million/$819 millions) and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure ($304 million/$1 million) in 2012.

GoldenEye premiered with less ($26million, a record series in 1995), than Ace Ventura, When Nature Calls ($38million, a record non-summer debut that time). Tomorrow Never Dies was a $125 million film that was released alongside Titanic ($600million). Spectre was able to earn $200 million domestically alongside The Hunger Games Part II ($281million) and Star Wars The Force Awakens ($937million) in the latter half of 2015. In the 1980s, License to Kill and Octopussy were outmatched by Raiders of the Lost Ark 2 and Lethal Weapon 2. Die Another Day was a successful counterprogramming strategy against Harry Potter, the Chamber of Secrets, and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in 2002.

This picture has a $250 million budget and a costly marketing campaign. It is also more difficult than usual. The James Bond series has a long, valuable post-theatrical life. It doesn't matter if it requires $600 million or $900 millions to break even. The commercial fate of one 007 film released in unprecedented circumstances by MGM was less important than the commercial appetite for more films without Daniel Craig. No Time to Die grossed Skyfall or Die Another Day (437 million in 2002), but the challenges of a new 007 star in a pop culture more focused on continuity and long-form storytelling will continue.

Over the next few months, No Time to Die shouldn't be too sluggish. It's a good film for all who came. The running time of 165 minutes may mean that interested parties will need to plan a show long after the opening weekend. Moreover, not only is No Time to Die the first non-superhero/horror tentpole since F9 ($30 million Friday/$70 million weekend/$173 million domestic cume) in late June, its the last non-horror/superhero/sci-fi/toon tentpole until arguably Kenneth Branaghs Death on the Nile in February 2022. James Bond should have ample time to die, or live and let die another day, or strike like a thunderball.